By Baxter Black: QCS columnist
The animal rights group PETA has based its advertising on outrageous things. They attract the media attention posing as a news item, and thus spend very little on advertising.
Past examples include comparing serial killer/cannibal Jeffery Dahmer to slaughtering pigs, equating butchering chickens to the Jewish holocaust and parading nude at the zoo to protest zoos.
Many of us have come to believe there is nothing too grotesque that PETA will do “to advance the cause.” Thus when I read the headlines this summer proclaiming ”PETA employees charged with animal cruelty,” I assumed it was another ploy for attracting the gullible media. In retrospect it is a horrible conclusion, that I could entertain the idea that PETA would be willing to abuse animals just to get attention. But there is an old Hollywood saw that says as long as you get your name in the paper, it doesn’t matter why. It’s all publicity.
I keep thinking of Paris Hilton or Pam Anderson’s X-rated videos. It kept them in the news. Where there is no shame or decency or whatever you call human restraint, no line in the sand, there is no perspective, no common ground for mutual understanding.
In my heart I would still like to believe that there are some base acts even PETA would not stoop to. To PETA President Ingrid Newkirk’s credit, she told me personally that in spite of her comments previous to Sept. 11, she no longer thinks it would be a good thing if the U.S. was infected with Foot and Mouth Disease.
I remember years ago it being reported that PETA had brought a young calf to a protest rally. It was a hot day; the calf was left in an enclosed truck. The calf suffered. PETA employees lately have been accused of dumping dead dogs and cats in a shopping center garbage bin. The animals had been taken from nearby animal shelters to be offered for adoption or to be humanely euthanized and disposed of. Both instances are demonstrative of a situation where the perpetrator means no harm but is not qualified for the job and doesn’t know the difference.
PETA makes a living maligning the ability, motives and concern of livestock people, horsemen, zookeepers, lab animal scientists, and virtually any group that uses animals to the benefit of mankind. If PETA employees spent a little time on a dairy raising baby calves, or at a farrow-to-finish hog operation, or even with a hunting dog trainer, they might learn something. Because all of us in the animal business know from experience, you may be able to talk a good story but the animals in your care can sort through bluster, bragging and bull pucky like a light saber and leave you standing there with fool on yer face. . . whether you’re an animal rights activist, a crocodile hunter or a former large animal veterinarian.